Sunday, February 06, 2011

05Jan1878, The State of Religion in France

TURIN, Saturday, January 5th, 1878.
—The state of religion in France, as far as we have come across indications of it, seems to me terribly hopeless. There are no signs of any standing-ground for earnest people between Ultramontanism and all its superstitions and utter infidelity. In Advent we came in for the feast of the "Immaculate Conception"; and looking into a church at Lyons, it was dreadful to see the apparently unmixed Mariolatry, amid frippery dolls and tawdry decorations. One sees and hears and reads nothing of Protestantism. If the newspapers speak of sacred things, it is with outrageous levity such as I should hope no one but Bradlaugh would venture on in England, however sceptical. One article in a Repub. paper, wanting to compare something political with the Forbidden Fruit (!!!), related the story of the Fall in a paragraph beginning, "Un vieux farceur nommé Moise," and ending, "On n'a jamais pu savoir d'ou est venu Bette fantaisie du bon Dieu." I think "le bon Dieu" stands for something allegorical or fabulous suitable for story-telling to children; and that perhaps if they spoke of "Dieu" there would be a little more attempt at reverence. And yet that isn't always the case, for did not I get a letter from M. Du Lau after Bolton, in which he said he sent it off, "priant Dieu et la poste" to convey it safe!!! as if they were allied powers.

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